Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Funnies

I asked Sidge to please remove the toys from under Hannah's exersaucer. "I can't Mom," he replied. "That's the Hall of Evil."


Isaac: "Mom, are you going to scuffle up the cards?" (I think he meant shuffle)


The boys have been learning to pour their own milk and cereal. Yesterday Sidge said, "We just need one spit of milk." What do you call milk as it comes out in little bursts? I don't think we have a word for it in our language.


Isaac: "My dream had a Joni in it. There was a Joni inside."


This morning for Sidge's birthday, we gave him some gifts that Grampa and Grama K. had left before they flew back to the USA. When I told him that these were from Grampa and Grama he said, "What? They dropped them from the sky?"


When JB told Sidge that he was five now, he nodded and said. "Yep. And soon I'll be ten."


While not really a Friday Funny, Abigail has started saying, "Oh my goodness ..." It is so stinkin' cute.

I'm pretty sure he's just given up

Here is Scrubby wearing Abigail's orange hair wig. I am pretty sure the dog has just done given up these children. I think he has agreed to just let the run the show and to go along for the ride. He is such a good sport and such a great doggie!

Happy Birthday Elijah "Sidge"

He almost died.

That's really all I can think about when I flash back to Elijah's birth. After being in labor for over twenty-four hours and after pushing for three hours, the decision had been made.


John was standing by my head, and he was talking me through the surgery. They were trying to pull him out. They couldn't get him out. One of the nurses was going under the table to try and dislodge him from my pelvis.

He's out. John told me that. But that's all he said. "He's out."

And that's where things went completely fuzzy. Someone was yelling something about meconium. And  I didn't hear any crying. They didn't show him to me. He was just gone. And John was gone. And the door was opening and shutting. I heard someone say something about "Epi" and someone else go running. Another voice called for the pediatrician.

And still, no crying.

I yelled for John. And he reemerged by my head. I remember saying, "He's okay. Right? Tell me he is okay. Say he's okay."

John looked at me and said nothing. I could see his eyes over the green surgical mask. I've known John since I was a young girl and so I could see exactly what he was trying to say just by looking at his eyes. Even though he said nothing, the words came out like this. "I should tell you something to comfort you, but there is nothing I can say to make this better. Things are not good."

I started yelling. I started pulling at my arm restraints. I remember thinking, "This is how it is going to end. This is why I could never picture myself having a baby. Because he's going to die. I'm going to have to go home to Isaac and pretend that nothing happened. Why did I even get pregnant in the first place? I was at peace with my childlessness. I was at peace being just an adopted mother. This pain will kill me."

I remember hearing the anesthesiologist ask JB if she should give me something. He said yes. She said, "What?" And he shook his head. He was saying, "No. I can't be a doctor too. I just have to be a husband right now. That's all I can mange." I felt something course through my veins.

I got very sleepy. But I refused to sleep. I fought it with all of my being. One of JB's fellow residents was assisting on the surgery. She was the closest to me and the one I could speak to. I started asking her questions. And I remember her answers were exactly as they should have been. She said things like, "They are doing the best they can. He's in the best hands. They are working hard."

But I was reading inbetween the lines.

He still wasn't crying.

Later I would learn that Elijah's one minute APGAR score was one. His five minute APGAR score was two. It wasn't until ten minutes that his APGAR was up to seven. And at the fifteen minute mark, it was nine. 

It was at that fifteen minute mark that JB came back up to my head. He was holding the digital camera. He had taken pictures. "He's okay," he whispered. "Really. I mean it. He's totally, perfectly fine." He started flipping through pictures on the digital camera so that I could see our son. 

He was alive. 

I truly believe that Dr. Patricia Goodemote saved our son's life that afternoon. She saved his life and she saved him from significant brain damage. It was the Lord's providence that a veteran doctor, like herself, was working infant resusitation that day. 

Once I was back in the real world, she came to my room and told us what happened. She admitted that the fear of him dying had been very real. "I thought to myself," she recalled, "That this miracle baby is going to die on my watch." 

I would spend the next week in the hospital nursing numerous infections and an ileus. But little Elijah would go from not crying at all to us wishing he would please quiet those lungs down!

And today, he turns five-years-old! 

He decided, a few years ago, that his name was not Elijah. He insisted on being called "Sidge". This was what his big brother Isaac had called him before he could pronounce his name: "Sidge-uh." And it has stuck. We are pretty sure that he will be "Sidge" forever.

Sidge is such an incredible joy to our family. He is funny and silly and he talks non-stop. He loves to eat anything and everything and can erupt in a sea of passion at a moment's notice. He pays more attention to Scrubs than any of the other kids -- giving him hugs and pets whenever he can. He likes to do whatever Isaac is doing and will play with Abigail anytime she asks. He is constantly stopping what he is doing to tell one of us that he loves us. While big brother is incredibly nimble and light on his feet, Sidge is a bull in a China shop. He has never met a stranger.

He has a knack for coming into the room to talk about something, and then he'll spot food. If anyone has some, he spots it, completely stops what he is talking about and says, "What is that? Can I have some?" It always makes me laugh.

He is reading three letter words. He is doing basic math and addition. He is taking tennis lessons and learning Bible verses at AWANAs. He loves to help his teachers and coaches and will tag along with anyone to contribute. Grampa. Daddy. In the kitchen, in the garden, he's right there.

He is incredibly excited about Daddy buying a farm. He keeps telling us "I'm going to be a farmer when I grow up. Me and Daddy are going to be farmers, and Mommy can be the farmer's wife."

When we told him this morning that he was five now he smiled and said, "Yep. And soon I'll be ten."

Too true.

While you may have started off slowly Elijah Luke, your passion is anything but slight now! We are so blessed to have you as our little boy. Thank you for embracing life to its fullest! You are one awesome little boy. 

*To read JB's account of Sidge's birth, click here. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The world according to Scrubs: I love Peanut Butter

Scrubs has left another message for everyone. If you want to see any of the other videos in the "World According to Scrubs" series, click here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Review: Dear. Mr. Knightley

It is seldom I read Christian fiction and am blown away.

Oh I'll think it is "good enough." It was adequate. It kept me semi-interested.

But outside of Francine Rivers (and occasionally Karen Kingsbury), I usually find the read subpar in comparison to non-Christian titles.

And then came Dear Mr. Knightley.

I ... loved ... this ... book.

Seriously, I am grieving the fact that it is over. Wishing I would know more. Wanting to be able to read it way too late into the night again this evening.

This was Katherine Reay's first novel, and if I had to guess, it will be one of  many. I truly did not know what to think when I started this book. And even fifty pages in, I had my doubts. But within a few chapters, I was incredibly hooked, enthralled with the characters, and completely wrapped up in the life of Samantha Moore.

Samantha Moore is a lost child raised in foster and youth homes. But a chance has come her way. She can attend grad school via an anonymous benefactor if she agrees to write him letters throughout the course of her studies.

Thus her letters -- entitled Dear Mr. Knightley.

She agrees and what follows is an incredibly poignant story of love, family, and not being afraid to trust others.

My only complaint about the story was Samantha's protection mechanism of using characters she reads in books as a way of deflecting questions or uncomfortable situations. I am an English writing major and taught high school English. However, the references and quotations to famous authors like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and C.S. Lewis can get a tad overwhelming and even old.

Outside of that one small factor, something that can easily be overlooked, I cannot recommend this book enough. Seriously. It was outstanding. What I especially loved about it was that while a Christian book, the message was comfortable enough to easily be a good read for someone who is not a Christian as well.

Delightful. Outstanding. Strongly recommended.

Read it! You'll love. I promise.

Booksneeze has provided me with a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest and fair review.


Isaac: "Look Mom! I can climb up the wall like Spider Man."

Abigail: Trying to be like big brother ... unsuccessfully.

China Shoes Adventures

In 2007, when we first announced we would adopt from China, an online friend sent me a First gift for our daughter. They were these adorable shoes:

I stored them in a box with a few other special adoption presents. They were priceless to me. They came to symbolize the child we dreamed of having. 

Later, when we withdrew our Dossier from China, an incredibly painful and difficult time in our adoption story, I mailed the shoes away to another friend having a daughter. I couldn't have them in my house. They made me too sad.

Then in 2011, I announced that we were expecting a little girl. Being pregnant again felt surreal. Having a daughter: unimaginable. And that friend had kept the shoes! She mailed them to me and I wrote about it here: First gift for Abigail. She mailed them back to me, and our little Abigail got to wear the shoes. I wrote about getting to see her in them here: Shoes for Abigail.

And then, last week, I put Hannah in the same shoes. 

It is hard to believe that in 2007, we were childless and planning an adoption from China. By 2008 we had adopted a son. By 2009 we had two sons and decided not to move forward with the China adoption. And now, in 2014, we have four children -- two of them girls. Incredible!

To these precious friends who gave me these gifts ... bless you. They will remain a treasured part of our story forever.

Because of Isaac Sponsors

I am incredibly excited to announce something new to our Because of Isaac (BOI) organization: sponsors! In short, these are individuals or businesses who have agreed to donate a portion of their sales to BOI. For every sale they make through my site, BOI gets some of that money! 

Please click here to check out our sponsors. You can also find a tab for it at the top of this page. I have quite a few individuals who have already expressed interest in participating so I am pretty confident this page will grow quickly over the next days and weeks.

I would sincerely appreciate it if you considered supporting these sponors. It's a great way to help raise money for BOI. I'm especially excited about the FAMILY BIRTHDAYS signs (below) as this was a very popular item in the auction! In addition, the sponsorship through Permier Designs is through a friend from my school days! 

I would also appreciate your prayers for BOI. We are on the verge of making some big decisions in regards to growing our organization and would love for you to pray for us as we try to seek the Lord's direction. We feel him leading us to take this to the next level which would mean the opportunity for many more couples to be featured instead of just a few at a time. We just want to make sure we are doing this HIS way.

$25 of every sale goes to BOI!

50% of all sales go to BOI!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Adoption Seminar


Getting Started in Independent Adoption

An adoption attorney answers question from parents who are considering or just starting the domestic newborn adoption process.

What are the first steps toward adopting a newborn in the U.S. and is this the right route for me? From hiring your team and putting together your profile to matching with an expectant mother and discussing ongoing contact, join adoption attorney Janna J. Annest for a chance to ask your first questions. 

Janna J. Annest, J.D., is an adoption attorney who has practiced law with the firm of Mills Meyers Swartling since 2003, and a frequent contributor to Adoptive Families magazine. She lives in Seattle, Washington, and is the mother of two children adopted domestically.

Click the link below to listen to a recording of the Q&A session. Simply put in your email address to listen to the recording.

Online Webinar: Getting Started on an Independent Adoption

Thanks Cousin Katie!

My cousin Katie made and sent us these Cabbage Patch Hair hats. They came in the mail yesterday, and we tried them on. Here are some photos!

One of the guys!

Judah (Doo-dah) and Abigail

Hoisting the flag on the pirate ship

Telling Judah to get to work!

Hiding in the fort (aka "bushes") in the back of our yard.

Tree climbing with Doo-dah

Bribed with marshmallows for a photo:
Abigail, Elijah, Sidge, Isaac, and Judah

Here, Joel and Scrubby joined us for a photo. Believe it or not there are two more kids not in this photo. Eight kids between us. Craziness!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sick Day

It's Memory time! Abigail and Hannah decided to sit this one out and just watch. Scrubs too.

Those furrowed brows!

The girls on the sidelines.

Poor little Abigail is not feeling good. She's been throwing up like a champ. Up during the night, crabby during the day, you can definitely tell that she's not herself. Lotsa laying around. Lucky Daddy is the snuggle recipient when he is home!

Monday K.I.S.S.: Do it now!

One way I prevent forgetting things and make things easier on myself is to do them when I can, right away if possible.

For instance, if I need to return a library book, I put it in my van. If I can't get out to the van, I at least set it by the door.

If I need to email someone, I usually try to do it at that moment. Or I quickly send myself an email to remind myself.

Putting things off leads to me feeling like I have forgotten everything. But doing it at that moment seems to help me keep things moving int he right direction!

P.S. have a K.I.S.S idea? Please email them to me at!

Hammin' it up with Hannah

My housekeeper Hita is IN LOVE with Hannah ... the Portuguese LOVE LOVE LOVE babies. Hita calls her "Anna" which works for me. She also calls Abigail "Gabriella" because she thinks that is a more Portuguese sounding name.

Hita decided Hannah should ride Scrubs.

And I decided to take a picture of us with the help of our sunroom windows.

Hannah was wondering what was going on.

Trying it without the flash.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Princess Play

Yes Isaac just hit her little fluffy hat tail with his stick. Wouldn't you want to too?

She is wearing her big brown shoes. Cracks me up.

Isaac gave her this sponge from the garden. Sidge called her "Sponge-woman" ... a Superhero name. Moments later she tucked it down the front of her shirt.

She has obviously seen someone doing something they shouldn't be doing.

A Sneeze.

Abigail turns on her pouting easily ... on command. Sometimes, she has trouble keeping a straight face.

Trying not to smile while trying to be mad at me.

Telling me why this is so unfair.